As easy as ABC

After 51 years and two months, Virginia ABC employee Carlton E. Willis retired recently, leaving behind the longest career in retail service in the history of the agency. Willis worked as a store associate, assistant manager and manager in four stores in Henrico and Hanover counties and in the City of Richmond. His starting salary in 1961 was $75 a week.

“I really enjoyed working for the ABC,” Willis said. “I loved seeing the people who came in the store and enjoying a laugh or two with them.”

Willis took an early retirement in July 1991 but returned to work just two weeks later as a store associate at the Staples Mill Shopping Center store on Glenside Drive in Henrico. “I missed the people and the work,” he said.

“He was always friendly, and the customers just loved him,” said Bernard Bottoms, Richmond Regional Manager of Retail Operations and former supervisor of the Staples Mill Shopping Center store. “Carlton experienced a lot of change over the years as our stores transitioned from conventional counter service to self-service, and throughout it all he exemplified the dedication to providing good customer service that we strive for in all of our stores. He was a beloved member of our team.”

Beloved by many, Willis received two cards upon his retirement with a total of 340 customers’ signatures and notes of congratulations on reaching this milestone. “They were something to see, that’s for sure,” said Willis.
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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Ave., will present Flowers After 5 on Thursday evenings through September. Stroll through the gardens, enjoy live music from Reflections Big Band, family activities,… Full text

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